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April 11 at 7 pm Whitten University Center - StormSurge Room
Free Admission. Finger food and refreshments served.
The Storm Surge room is in front of the Pool entrance. For directions, click here
If you have questions, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Here is the PDF flyer

Questions addressed that evening:
- How can communities evaluate their vulnerability to the multiple threats represented by Sea Level Rise? What do such integrated vulnerability assessments look like for Southeast Florida?
- What are the potential local government legal and financial liabilities for Sea Level Rise? How far into the future should communities be planning for Sea Level Rise?
-  How does Sea Level Rise affect the policy decisions we are making about the everglades and other natural areas?
- Are there policy changes that will help lessen the impact on less affluent communities?
- How is resiliency influencing other major policy areas within the County such as transportation, planning, or economic development?

Our panelists:

- Jim Murley - Miami Dade County Chief Resilience Officer

James F. Murley was recently appointed Chief Resilience Officer for Miami Dade County by Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Jim served has Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs under Governor Lawton Chiles and was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to serve as Chair of the Florida Energy and Climate Commission. Previously he served as Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Florida, spent over 10 years with Florida Atlantic University overseeing research on urban and environmental issues and served as the Executive Director of the South Florida Regional Planning Council.  He is former Vice-Chair of the Miami-Dade County Sea Level Rise Task Force, a former member of the Broward County Climate Change Task Force and was recently appointed to the City of Miami Sea Level Rise Committee.  He is a founding Board member of the American Society for Adaptation Professionals and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

- Prof. Brian Soden - Professor of Atmospheric Sciences RSMAS

Dr. Brian J. Soden is a Professor at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science. Dr. Soden specializes in the use of satellite observations to test and improve computer simulations of Earth’s climate. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Miami, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. Before returning to the University of Miami, Dr. Soden was a Visiting Scientist and Lecturer at Princeton University, and a Physical Scientist with NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, NJ. Dr. Soden has authored over 100 peer reviewed papers on weather and climate change. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore. Other honors include the American Meteorological Society’s Henry G. Houghton Award, the National Space Club’s David S. Johnson Award, and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s H.E. Reid Award. Full Bio

- Thomas Ruppert P.A. - FL Sea Grant

Thomas Ruppert, coastal planning specialist at the Florida Sea Grant College Program, is a licensed attorney developing legal and policy analysis for local governments on aspects of adaptive planning for sea-level rise, community resilience, and associated long-term challenges and opportunities for Florida’s coastal communities. Areas of expertise include federal and state property rights law, beach and coastal policy in Florida, flood insurance, Florida’s Coastal Construction Control Line program, planning law, and coastal and marine permitting programs. He has worked with over a dozen partners to organize and host legal workshops on coastal issues and flood insurance around the state. Mr. Ruppert is currently involved with several initiatives within Florida communities planning for sea-level rise and maintains a website of original resources at

- Mitchell A. Chester, P.A. - CLEO institute/

Mitchell A. Chester, Esq. is a civil trial lawyer practicing in South Florida. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and an AV rated attorney. In practice for over 36 years, he is deeply concerned about developing legal, social, housing and monetary adaptation solutions for communities threatened by swelling oceans due to sea level rise (SLR). Mr. Chester is editor of (how agriculture can adapt to sea level rise and increased heat), (which explores legal and practical financial issues pertaining to sea level rise), (monetary tools for sea level rise), Sea Level Rise (a podcast which discusses topics to examine key societal issues and opportunities presented by encroaching waters), (explaining special sea level rise zones in Florida) and (SLR issues). His focus is on people, including homeowners, renters, business owners and agricultural interests as we jointly prepare for altered coastlines. He is one of the directors of the CLEO Institute , which educates government leaders and students in Southeastern Florida about sea level rise and climate issues. Mr. Chester has presented SLR and climate issues in Southeastern Florida including events at the University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University, Miami-Dade College, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for the Everglades, the Environmental Coalition for Miami and the Beaches, the Coral Gables Museum, the Florida Bar Environmental Law Section and other venues. He is a contributor to and writes on SLR issues for that international forum. Mitch has been involved in various hurricane relief and severe weather recovery efforts in South Florida and was involved in a project advocating the shipment of surplus portable classrooms to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He helped initiate the American Board of Trial Advocates Fort Lauderdale Chapter annual scholarship for NSU law students and has served on the Chapter’s Board of Directors. In January, 2016, he was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Fort Lauderdale ABOTA Chapter. Mitch was involved in community efforts to relocate IKEA to the City of Sunrise, in the re-design Interstate 595 to prevent the double decking of that major roadway due to safety and environmental concerns and has advocated for affordable housing in Court proceedings and in the Town of Davie as a former Chair of the Town’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. 

Topics discussed:

- Potential local government legal and financial liabilities for SLR such as drainage, roads, and other infrastructure
- How Miami-Dade County incorporates sea level rise into our planning and infrastructure decisions.
- Future plans based on directions from the Miami Dade County Board of County Commissioner and Mayor Gimenez.

- The import of the Farmers Insurance case (lawsuit against local governments for failure to plan);
- Resilience by homeowners pushing liability as way to motivate local governments t act on property protections and property rights. 

- How far into the future should communities be planning for SLR? this is critical since we now understand that regardless of exactly when we see certain amounts of sea-level rise, we are quite confident that at least 10-20 feet of eventual sea-level rise is now effectively “baked into” the system, thus requiring careful consideration of how our plans for adaptation will help or hinder further future resilience.

- How local governments might pay for adaptation to sea-level rise since just raising the amount of money necessary for engineering adaptations will carry significant policy and equity implications?
- Climate Justice: Gentrification and the impact of SLR on underprivileged communities.

Thanks to our sponsors:

Thanks to the Environmental Law Society and the Environmental Justice Center at the School of Law

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